Dear Jakey,

I read a blog the other day by a mom who lost her daughter. She wrote about where her daughter is buried and how over the years she has gotten to know so many more kids that are buried there. She wasn’t talking about Greenridge but another cemetery near by and was talking about when her friend asked if there was a children’s section in the cemetery. All this may seem weird to people but I went on to read how she loves the cemetery where her daughter is buried. And as I read it, I thought about you and I thought about Greenridge. And I thought about how when we go to see you we also end up seeing a lot of kids. We see Eddie and Jake, we see Stretch and Olivia. We see the son of the man who is on a similar schedule to me visiting and who has been on this schedule since 2004 and tells me it never gets easier. We see the parents who lost their 11-year-old many years ago. We see the scenery change by the statue of the young boy and we see the young mom and dad who buried three babies already. And it makes me think about all these young lives lost and how terribly tragic it is. I also started reading a blog by a mom who will likely lose her three-year old daughter soon. She too suffers from a rare disease and her body has taken just about all it can. This family knows it is coming and I find myself wondering if that makes it any easier. We didn’t see it coming and I don’t know if that was better or worse. I guess it is all just a variation of awful.

Daddy and I went to a memorial service yesterday. It was meant to be and was successful in being a true celebration of life. Friends, colleagues and families shared stories and experiences they had with Dr. Havens and as a result everyone there felt a little better and a little closer to him and to each other. Sitting there I thought a lot about your upcoming anniversary. Daddy and I have talked a lot about how to deal with it – whether we wanted a service or not, whether we wanted a celebration or not and I think we decided we don’t want any of that. Having spent yesterday afternoon at a true celebration of a long, vibrant life I just can’t imagine doing that at this point. Dr. Havens lived 86 years and lived a life worth celebrating. And while I know without a doubt that your life is worth celebrating it just isn’t the same. We lost you so young and you forged intense, amazing relationships with those lucky enough to spend time with you and for now those memories are what we have and what we focus on. You will continue to be in the forefront of my mind and heart each and every day and in the heart of those you touched – some of who you may never have even met which is the true wonder of you. But for those of us who knew you so well we will just spend the day together and spend the weekend doing what we do best – having family adventures. It may bring us to the North Pole or Lake Placid, but wherever we are we know you will be with us helping us navigate our life without you.